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August 1, 2012 • Healthy Eating & Nutrition, Heart Health

Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a Superstar Fat

It is widely recognized that the monounsaturated fats in olive oil are good for the heart, but many people are unaware of the additional goodness provided by this flavorful oil’s rich array of super-charged antioxidant chemicals called polyphenols. These special chemicals have exhibited all sorts of dazzling benefits in the laboratory and now we have some real-life evidence of the good deeds they can perform in the human body. In a clinical trial conducted in healthy adults, scientists found that in as little as three weeks, daily consumption of polyphenol-rich olive oil turned off genes that promote atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) along with genes that drive inflammation. These new findings may provide the molecular mechanism behind the glowing list of benefits associated with regular consumption of olive oil including less heart attacks, less strokes, less cancers, and less Alzheimer’s. For best results, choose “extra virgin” olive oil as it has much higher levels of polyphenols. Eating a daily salad dressed with a homemade extra olive oil vinaigrette is the easiest and tastiest way to leverage these amazing plant compounds. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2012:95)